A new fueling strategy

First up, hooray for half term!

Second up, a weekend away meant that my long run had to be on Monday instead of Sunday. The joy when we got home on Sunday afternoon to a broken boiler, it certainly threw a spanner in the works! We have an immersion heater, but it has never worked (and we have had people look at it) so no hot water either. Brrrr it was chilly! Anyway, I phoned home and although my parents were out they said I could use their shower- phew.

So, on Monday I was up early and had some porridge. I bought some of those berry chia sachets after trying one the other week, because I thought it would be an easy thing to pack when we go away for the race. I added a tsp peanut butter, and had a peppermint tea. I let this go down for a bit, but probably too long, before heading out at about 10am. I lined up some podcasts (the rest of one marathon talk, a new one, a Richard Herring podcast and then the parkrun show), and mapped out a route. This time I decided on a large figure of eight instead of multiple laps. I am not sure what I prefer.

Anyway, the run was tough. It started off OK, and I didn’t let myself look at my Garmin at all- I didn’t want to know pace, or how far I had gone, or how long I had been running for. I wore too many layers- I think as our home was so cold I felt colder before I began, but after a mile my gloves were off and didn’t go back on. I also kept feeling really hungry- it was like the breakfast had woken my stomach up. It was my normal size of breakfast, and at work I don’t then have lunch until nearly 1pm, so it is not as if I am used to a snack in the morning or anything.

Until about 12 miles I felt OK, but then I started to feel pretty rubbish. At one point I stopped to stretch out my legs a bit, and then about half a mile later I stretched on a fence and had to lean on it for a bit because my head felt funny- not quite light headed, but something strange. Bleurgh. The final few miles had a few walk breaks in there, because I just could not keep it going. The podcasts kept my mind off it for a bit, but I was also wondering what persuaded me to sign up for a marathon. Where are the next ten miles coming from? 

I nearly cut it short- to about 14 miles, but the thought of the Jantastic miles mainly kept me going, and also if I can’t manage that on a training run, how am I going to cope on race day? It took me just over 3 hours in the end, and of course my first thought was “2 hours to do the last 10 miles”. I think I need to start slower, and also I might put in some walk breaks earlier on so that they are planned for.

As soon as I got home I changed into dry clothes, and had some lunch and a drink, before packing up my shower bits and heading home. I didn’t feel so bad after that, and my brother made me a cup of tea while I was showering so that helped to warm me up too.

The guy who came to look at our boiler needed a part, so we had to have another cold evening before it was finally fixed on Tuesday.

So, lessons I have learnt this week: I can run after eating porridge, but maybe I need to leave a smaller gap (this was due to trying to find a person to come and look at the boiler though). I probably need to take something with me on a run. I know I don’t like gels, and I don’t want anything sweet like (e.g. jelly beans) as they make my mouth feel weird. I have some fruit puree that I might try- I think I got it after the 15K race I did, and that might be OK to eat while running. I do think that eating beforehand helped me feel better later in the day. I am prone to energy crashes, and I didn’t have a big lunch (sourdough toast and some grapes)- I did have some nuts and a cereal bar later on in the afternoon, but I wasn’t raging after the chocolate like I can be after a long run.

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Also these arrived in the post today! After getting my club vest last week, I didn’t want to get safety pin holes in it. One of my running friends has used these before, so I decided to treat myself.

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I have already fixed the number onto my vest- I am ready very early! It seems very secure, but I am not sure whether to pack a spare safety pin just in case.

I am meant to be doing 8 miles later, but some of that will be with SRC so I want to try and do 4 miles on the way- it’s not easy sorting out a route that ends there!

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12 thoughts on “A new fueling strategy”

    1. Thanks- yes I will do. My friend who recommended them loves muddy runs and things, so I feel quite confident that they will stay on.

  1. Those bib clips always look so convenient, but I’m paranoid about them somehow coming loose and then having to chase my bib along to the finish line!

    I think perhaps waiting for less time might be a good idea, or else going for something smaller but more calorie dense: that’s why I have bars before I run unless I’m going to be waiting for a long time, in which case I have my normal big smoothies or bowls of banana ice cream and dates. I still can’t really eat on the run without feeling ill, but with a big enough breakfast combination (800 calories total before a marathon from two bars and a banana seems to work best for me – I know that seems like a LOT, but I don’t have to worry about gels, stomach cramping or any of that) I never seem to run out of fuel or energy…if it wasn’t for all of my leg/back problems I think I could keep going for quite a few more miles!

    1. More dense foods is a good point- I thought porridge would be good because of the liquid- to keep me a bit more hydrated, but actually that might have been the problem.

  2. Hmm fuelling is tough. Were you dehydrated maybe? It sounds like you had enough fuel with your breakfast but I guess more fuelling on the go is probably best? Not necessarily gels, but maybe dried fruit or something?
    Personally I won’t eat before a training run – that being said, the longest training run I’ve ever done is 17 miles only once. I’m pretty sure I had a gel on that run tho but I can’t remember as it was a while ago now.
    I’m trying to look seriously into the whole depletion training and using fat as a fuel source rather than carbs. One of the MarathonTalk podcasts has a good chat about nutrition and this area which really spiked my interest. I don’t find I need fuel before a run – I’ve regularly done 13 miles training in the past on nothing and felt absolutely fine so maybe that’s the way forward for me. But always for races I’ll have porridge breakfast beforehand.
    Funnily enough the only reason I took gels in the marathons is because that’s what people do, you know? It’s hard to say if I needed them or not – when I took them I didn’t feel I needed them, but if I hadn’t have taken them would I have bonked? So for my next marathon I’m going to aim to do the majority of my training runs (not races) without fuel. We’ll see how that goes!

    1. I had a really good chat with the SRC leader this week- will blog about it but he is a super fast marathon runner (2.25 I think) and had a lot of good info to share. Everyone is different, and I suppose my cold had made me more tired too. I did 15 miles on nothing but I don’t think I could do the whole marathon like that, so need to practise. I bought some of those bear yoyo’s as I think I have had them before and quite liked them.

  3. Before a long run I like porridge with chia seeds and coconut oil. During I carry dates, nakds bars, ellas fruit pouches, vega gels, chia gels or bear fruit yoyos/nibbles. I always take my camelbak for anything over 9-10 miles, and carry a combo of water, coconut water and viridian sports electrolyte mix. I tend to need less fuel now than when I first started running and was taking on stuff every 30 mins or so, now I just listen to my body and when I get hungry on the run I eat, although with water I take 3 sips every 15 mins, so I remember to keep taking a little on board. I think it’s all about experimenting, and finding what works for you.

    1. I have been looking at camelbaks a bit- I have a waist belt for a water bottle but it does bump around a bit. I like your approach as you use whole foods and not gels etc, which makes more sense to me too.

  4. I have those clips, they’re great but don’t forget to hole punch your race number before leaving the house!! I know Leah from Naturally Leah used baby food fruit puree last year for fuel and they seemed to work well for her. Could you also try maybe cutting up small chunks of a bounce ball or Nakd bar? Or maybe dates, except I suppose they are very sweet. Well done on your miles though, and for keeping on going! I have 18 on the calendar for this weekend. Eeeek!

    1. I cut a hole in the number for each clip- it did say to do that in the instructions.
      I have had dates before and I like them, but they leave my mouth a bit sticky.
      Hope your 18 miles go well 🙂

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